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Tanzania Wildlife Conservation N.G.O Internship

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Tanzania Wildlife Conservation N.G.O Internship

Survey and monitor threatened species in this rich mosaic of untouched habitat on Mafia Island and educate the local communities on environmentally friendly activities on a conservation internship.

Prices from $2,895

The Frontier Field camp is located in a stunning part of Tanzania on Mafia Island. Surrounded by lush mangrove forests, coconut plantations and unique ecosystems which straddle water and land, you will be living and working from a picturesque and simple communal camp near the beach. Your residence is a basic affair in the village of Utende with communal sleeping in a thatched banda, an open kitchen and friendly neighbours in the form of local wildlife. 

We are working in this area to help local communities and animals to live in harmony, so that people's livelihoods can be improved whilst enabling wildlife to continue to use the habitat that remains intact.

Check out our Camp Tour video! 

Conservation efforts are key to the survival of a vast array of declining species. As a result it is vital that we equip future generations with the skills and knowledge required to preserve not only the larger more charismatic animals but also the smaller inhabitants of the area. Through the practical application of a series of surveying and monitoring techniques we aim to provide a basis of understanding that will enable you to pursue a career in conservation or simply introduce broader conservation issues facing our most threatened species. Mafia Island has had little previous scientific exploration and as a result the work that you will be a part of conducting will go towards increasing the species lists for the island and reducing the knowledge gaps that exist for species across Tanzania and Africa.

Much of Africa’s wildlife is under threat and as habitats shrink and human environments grow there is more frequent contact between wildlife and local people. This can cause conflict, which has a negative impact on both the wildlife and villagers. Our project is working closely with local villagers to find a way to address this issue and to allow wildlife and people to share the land and its resources. As part of your training on this valuable and exciting project you will have the opportunity to handle a number of interesting amphibians, insects, birds and small mammals. You might also be interviewing local villagers or teaching on local education days about the conservation value of the species found on Mafia Island. As you develop an eclectic range of surveying & monitoring techniques and learn how to work with local communities you will be helping to conserve the remaining habitat and the animals it supports and also to ensure that local communities are closely involved in conservation activities.

The work you carry out will be rewarding and exciting and hugely beneficial to Mafia Island Marine Park's conservation efforts as well as being amazing fun! At the end of the day you will gain immense satisfaction from knowing that you have helped to save this precious island wilderness protecting it for future generations.


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  • Gain skills and knowledge required for a sure start in a conservation career
  • Help to monitor & conserve rare African wildlife
  • Work closely with local villagers
  • Live on stunning Mafia Island
  • Make lifelong friends


  • Up to date CV



Location Mafia Island, Tanzania
Activities Pit fall trapping
Small mammal trapping
Point counts
Butterfly trapping and sweep netting
Socio-economic surveys
Set up survey sites
GPS training and compass work

Airport pick up and first night hostel accommodation in Dar es Salaam can be arranged at extra cost (£26/$40) 
Airport pick up from Mafia Island Airport and transfer to camp (extra cost applies £4 / $6)

Accommodation Communal camp near the beach





Before you go

Pre-departure support & documentation
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Equipment advice
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)


Camp accommodation near the beach

3 meals per day provided on project site, 6 days per week. 2 meals provided on Sunday

Airport pickup in Dar es Salaam and transfer to hostel (extra cost $22/$20)

First night hostel accommodation in Dar es Salaam (extra cost $22/$20)

Transfer to airport for connecting flight to the island (extra cost $22/$20)

Airport pickup from Mafia Island Airport and transfer to camp (extra cost $7/$6)

24-hour in-country & international HQ emergency support & back-up

Free marine park & reserve entrance fees & research permits if applicable

Local orientation and training

CoPE qualification available



A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.


The Frontier-Tanzania Wildlife Project is an African conservation and community development initiative which aims to gather scientifically valid information to help local villagers and government bodies plan their conservation and development activities. By surveying habitats, wildlife and local livelihoods in the area the project has helped establish plans to protect precious species while at the same time encouraging community development strategies that address local needs. By working closely with local villagers we are also helping to ensure that they play a central role to ensure that their views are heard.

The main focus of your time on the Frontier-Tanzania Wildlife Project will be learning a variety of techniques required effectively to monitor local biodiversity. This includes conducting a range of wildlife and socio-economic surveys to help gather important management data. We utilise a multitude of trapping techniques allowing you to get up close and personal with  a range of stunning wildlife.
You will be living in the heart of the local community on a small camp situated close to the beach. You will be surveying the wildlife in and around the village of Utende and you may even get the chance to do some surveys inside the small remaining coastal forest on the island. You may also be involved in conservation awareness days at local schools or around the local village.
If this is your first time doing field research and conservation work, don't worry! It will only take a short while for you to feel totally at home on camp and confident with your grasp of the scientific techniques. At times the work is intense and challenging but you'll get immense satisfaction from working and living in an African village and from having made a valuable contribution to the conservation of this important ecosystem and the livelihoods of the people who live there. You will return home with valuable field work experience and lifelong friends!

This project looks to utilise skilled interns to develop and grow their experience along with the achievements of this project; please speak to a Frontier travel advisor for more information of the kind of skills and experience required of interns. A relevant degree is essential and some field work experience is necessary.


We can arrange an airport pick up for you at Dar es Salaam Airport and a local private driver will escort you to a local hostel where you can spend your first night relaxing and recovering from your journey. These costs are extra and you can pay our representative $68/$60 directly. The following day our rep will return you to the airport in time for your internal flight on the eight seater light aircraft to Mafia Island. Please ensure you book your flight well in advance. Once on Mafia Island you will be met by Frontier staff at the airport on Mafia and transferred by bus or tuk tuk to the marine and terrestrial conservation project camp site at Utende. We can provide you with detailed instructions on how to reach the Mafia Island camp if travelling independently.

It is possible to reach Mafia Island by ferry but sailing times can be very unpredictable. If you choose not to fly you will need to travel via the port town of Nyamasati, 90 km south of Dar, from where you will travel by ferry, approximately a 6-hour trip, to the small harbour town of Kilindoni on the western side of Mafia Island. Once on the island you will be met by the Frontier forest and marine field staff at Kilindoni.

You will be welcomed onto camp by the friendly Frontier staff team and introduced to the Frontier-Tanzania research and conservation programme. You will receive initial project briefings, including an introduction to the work programme and to the field research techniques used, as well as being given health and safety lectures so make sure your medical kit is complete and start reading your safety and medical guides now.

When you are not working from our camp in Utende village, you may have the opportunity to work from satellite camps in locations such as Mlola forest or the neighbouring islands of Juani and Chole.


During the project you'll live on our marine camp at Utende just a short walk from the beach on the east coast of Mafia Island, where you will have an authentic and memorable living experience. The Frontier camp was constructed by local craftsmen using traditional building techniques and local materials. 

Camp life is very simple, unsophisticated and fun. You will be staying in communal bandas, huts made from makuti (woven palm leaves), poles and mud and sleeping on beds constructed from sustainably harvested wooden poles, your "shower" will be a jug or a bucket of water and you cook over an open campfire, so prepare for the basic, unencumbered lifestyle! 

As well as the survey and conservation work you may help with the community outreach and environmental awareness work in the local villages, scientific data entry and daily camp maintenance, taking turns to cook, tidy and clean the camp, collect water and help with a wide variety of other essential camp duties.


Camp food is simple and nutritious and consists largely of rice, vegetables, beans and fruit, all of which are purchased locally in order to help support the local economy. Daily variations include pumpkin, cabbage, spinach, sweet potato and even the occasional pasta dish! You will also learn how to bake bread, which is eaten for breakfast, on an open fire. Luxuries such as Jam, nutella and peanut butter can be bought in the nearby town. However, other luxuries such as chocolate, biscuits, and drinking chocolate have to be brought to Mafia Island from Dar es Salaam, so make sure you stock up before heading to the field! Part of your role on camp will be to help with the cooking, so get your cookbooks out now and start practising!

What Next? Apply Now!

Ten Most Recent Reviews for This Project


The Frontier-Tanzania camp is fun and in your spare time you'll have opportunities to swim and snorkel, play football against the unbeatable local side or try out beach volleyball. Alternatively you may enjoy a traditional Saturday night themed camp party, play poker, chess or backgammon or join in a camp quiz night. After a long hard day of surveying, exploring and working you may prefer to relax with a drink and sway in the camp hammock or sit and chat to your new friends under a sky lit up by millions of stars.

Tanzania offers a massive range of adventure and cultural activities for you to enjoy after your Frontier project. Visit game reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and forest reserves. Experience a traditional African safari and game drive, visit the exotic island of Zanzibar, climb Kilimanjaro, snorkel or learn to scuba dive by taking a PADI dive course. We encourage you to book these extra activities direct with local providers thereby making more of a contribution to the local economy.

Dive courses run monthly commencing on the first monday of the month

  • Single Day Snorkelling $17
  • Single Day Dive $42
  • Double Dive $85
  • 4-dive package $170
  • 10-dive package $340


  • Discover Scuba Diving $68
  • Open Water Dive Course $782
  • Advanced Open Water $620
  • Medic First Aid $221
  • Rescue Diver $595
  • Dive Master $1,275

*Medical certificate is mandatory for participation in dive courses

RENTAL EQUIPMENT (Prices per day)

  • Jacket/BCD $8
  • Regs $8
  • Wetsuit $8
  • Mask/Snorkel $5
  • Fins $5

Modern conveniences

Mafia Island

  • Boat rental
  • Fishing
  • Hostels / hotels
  • Internet available at local bars
  • Post office
  • Souvenir shops
  • Traditional markets
  • Western style restaurants

Kilindoni - 20-30 minute Tuk Tuk ride away at own cost

  • Grocery Stores
  • Medical clinic
  • Phone shops
  • Traditional markets

Dar es Salaam - 45 minute flight at own cost

  • 24 hour supermarkets
  • Banks / ATMs; National Microfinance Bank, Standard Chartered, Barclays, National Bank of Commerce, Stanbic
  • Bars / clubs
  • Bureau de Change
  • Cinema
  • Dentist/li>
  • Department store
  • Hairdresser
  • Hospital
  • Hostels / hotels
  • International Embassies and Consulates
  • Internet cafes
  • Local style restaurants
  • Mobile phone shops
  • Pay phones
  • Pharmacy
  • Traditional markets
  • Western style restaurants
  • Western Union


8 weeks $2,895

12 weeks $4,045

20 weeks $5,995

extra week $345


First Monday of the month


You can join this project for a minimum of 2 months


Before you go

  • Pre-departure support & documentation
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Equipment advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt
  • UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)


  • Camp accommodation near the beach
  • 3 meals per day provided on project site, 6 days per week. 2 meals provided on Sunday
  • Airport pickup in Dar es Salaam and transfer to hostel (extra cost applies $22/$20)
  • First night hostel accommodation in Dar es Salaam (extra cost applies)  $22/$20)
  • Transfer to airport for connecting flight to the island (extra cost applies) $22/$20)
  • Airport pickup from Mafia Island Airport and transfer to camp (extra cost $7/$6)
  • Local orientation & training
  • 24-hour in-country & international HQ emergency support & back-up
  • Free marine park & reserve entrance fees & research permits if applicable
  • CoPE qualification available
  • Accommodation upgrade available in local lodge (extra cost applies)


Nearest airport(s): Dar es Salaam (DAR), Mafia Island (MFA)


  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Insurance

For detailed information on flights, visas and insurance, click here.


Please read our legal statement regarding the running of NGO projects.

To apply for this placement, click on "Apply Now" below. Fill in the short application form and one of our advisers will then call you back to answer any questions and make sure this is the perfect placement for you. Applying doesn't cost a penny and you won't pay anything until you're completely happy and you're ready to reserve your place.

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